Interview with designer Herman Delos Santos (HD), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Le Maestro Modern Dress Loafer.

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Interview with Herman Delos Santos at Saturday 19th of April 2014: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
HD : The main objective behind Le Maestro is to revive men’s traditional dress shoes in a way that is elegant, innovative and aesthetically modern, which are all characteristics within the brand, HERMAN FRANCISCO. I wanted to incorporate newer manufacturing processes such as 3D modeling and 3D printing processes.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
HD : Immediate focus was directed towards the heel of the shoe. This is an area of the shoe that is constantly changing and evolving within women's shoes; I then asked myself "why not men’s shoes?" Le Maestro is the pioneer in creating revolutionary and elegant silhouettes within men’s shoes.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
HD : Le Maestro will be part of an expanded collection that incorporates the 'Matrix Heel,' a signature for the brand HERMAN FRANCISCO. Along with innovative material combinations for the upper, future designs for the 'Matrix Heel' will continue to evolve

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
HD : The duration of preliminary sketches to a refined rendering was made in 4 days. It took another 3 weeks of evaluation and pattern construction was then developed in a 3D modeling program.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
HD : This design was drawn from the intent of implementing a 3D printed component into a footwear product. After observing all footwear products, I concluded with integrating this modern process into men’s dress shoes. This sector of footwear hasn’t had any substantial innovations. HERMAN FRANCISCO will be the leading design pioneer of innovative and inspirational products.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
HD : I am currently seeking for partners to collaborate with on producing Le Maestro and all future footwear products within HERMAN FRANCISCO.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
HD : HERMAN FRANCISCO is a brand that aims to revolutionize luxury products and introduce elegant designs that inspire people to get more involved within creative industries.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
HD : Designs from Aston Martin and Pininfarina continue to inspire me. They continue to design elegant and sophisticated products that are innovative to that people keep and then later pass down onto upcoming generations. Being able to make a timeless product is the core foundation of design within HERMAN FRANCISCO.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
HD : Le Maestro is targeted towards the people who notices and appreciates the exquisite things in life. They are in the know of new design, art galleries, upcoming restaurants, sense of personal style along with a keen eye for detail. They continue to build an extensive network at all events and galas within multiple businesses. This person exudes confidence and has passion within his personal craft along with a desire to learn new things.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
HD : This design is distinct for its signature ‘Matrix Heel’. To complement the ‘Matrix Heel’, the upper of the shoe has been modernized with an asymmetrical vamp and sleek heel cap design.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
HD : The status ‘maestro’ is a director that exemplifies mastery in an art to the finest detail. This ethos is part of the design philosophy of HERMAN FRANCISCO. Le Maestro is the introduction of leading and innovative luxury designer footwear for HERMAN FRANCISCO.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
HD : Design tools involved preliminary sketches on paper to a more refined rendering composed in Adobe Photoshop. Through several stages of refinement, a final 3D model was generated for further evaluation.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
HD : The unique aspect of Le Maestro is the ‘Matrix Heel’, a first of its kind amongst the competitors of men’s dress shoes.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
HD : ‘Le Maestro’ was implemented on my own. Future collaborations will involve technical experts in 3D printing along with master shoe makers.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
HD : Technology is showcased in the ‘Matrix Heel’. This component is a titanium support structure that is manufactured using direct metal laser sintering.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
HD : No research was initially made for the preliminary stages of the design. Research took place throughout the refinement stages to find other products similar to Le Maestro. The extent of the research composed of construction techniques and 3D printing methods.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
HD : Further development and prototypes are still being made to refine the construction and integration of the ‘Matrix Heel’

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
HD : There are numerous brands that are all seeking out publicity to showcase their product, which then makes introducing a new product difficult. An international design competition is a perfect outlet for receiving feedback, improvements and any other input from the jury that would benefit the product.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
HD : Footwear is a new sector of design that I have never engaged within until now. After researching the process of designing and constructing shoes, many questions came to mind. Being an industrial design looking into that industry, I was able address questions that may have never been asked or considered. The ability to think outside the box of conventional footwear design gave me the opportunity to conclude with innovative solutions.

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
HD : Le Maestro is a combination of traditional craftsmanship and modern technological processes. A harmonious balance of skill, technological methods and a keen eye for detail is needed to achieve the perfect product.